Most of us know how a Retriever looks like, for those of you who forgot these fluffy dogs, they are a large breed of dog resembling to a Labrador except with a long coat. Golden Retrievers have been trained and domesticated as assistance dogs for hunting and shooting games originally. They have been known through ages and generations to be ‘retriever’ due to their soft mouth, which gives them the ability to retrieve any hunted or shot birds etc without damaging the body. Retrievers were first bred in Scotland in 19th century.
A golden retriever has vibrant eyes, straight snout and short ears. This breed has long and furry coat which is water repellent. Their coats also make them excellent swimmers. They could be light golden, golden, yellow, light brown, brown or blonde in colour. They have a feathery tail which gets especially destructive when their excited indoors.
Retrievers are friendly in nature and this makes them not so good guard dogs. In fact they are known as 3rd most popular domestic dogs. While they were specially bred for hunting games as assistant dogs to retrieve shot birds and fowls, they also have the potential to be trained as guide dogs for the blind and excellent hearing dogs for the deaf. They have an athletic nature and require a minimum of two hours of exercise a day. So if you aren’t active before you get this fluff, you’ll get there in a few weeks after you get him. They are naturally playful and energetic dogs. An adult healthy retriever would weigh 60-70 pounds.
Golden Retrievers were bred in Scotland for the Royals. First mention of a retriever was found in the mid-19th century. They served as hunting partners, and fetched the bodies of the shot fowls and other hunted upland birds during shooting games.
Golden retrievers are famous for their friendly personalities. They are a 10/10 in affection and stranger friendly level. They are famous family dogs, and are child-friendly too. However due to their pleasing nature and large body they may appear scary to children and people who aren’t used to dogs. They jump and hurl themselves at humans to show their love, which is why they should be trained at puppy stage. Even though they are not good guard dogs, they could be especially protective for a human baby since softness comes naturally for them.
You should only consider getting a retriever as a family dog if you can give him ample time for exercise and play, since they are athletic by nature. They only require 2-3 hours of play which makes them low-maintenance in terms of exercise. They tend to get depressed and whiny if not given enough attention and physical exercise.
Remember before you get this pup that it was bred as an assistant for hunters, so he require that much of exercise or he will get health ailments.
Ideally training of any dog should begin at the moment you get him home. The key to a well trained dog is consistency in training and patience. The ‘teenage’ of a retriever begins usually at 6 months of age and lasts up to 3 years. At this age any dog could be taxing to live with, since their energy level and hormonal level is high.
They have an ability to become overly noisy if not given enough attention, affection and exercise. They become hardly aggressive unless agitated at an extreme level.
- Size and Weight
Retrievers are large dogs. A male retriever could weigh anything from 65 to 75 pounds and female retriever could weigh from 60 to 70 pounds.
- Colour and Coat
They could be light golden, golden, yellow, light brown, brown or blonde in colour. Retrievers have long coat which is water repellent. The ones bred for close-to-white coats and red coats are considered unhealthy.
- Genetic Characteristics
They have been bred to retrieve upland birds for hours at a stretch. They were originally a cross between a Tweed Water Spaniel and a yellow-coloured retriever. Golden retrievers were especially bred to retrieve upland birds after the quality of guns went up and the guns shot at far distance. Therefore these energetic dogs were required.
- Other Characteristics
Retrievers have an excellent sense of smell and therefore have been used as sniffers at airports, for police as drugs detectors and for rescue missions during disasters.
- Life Span
A Retriever’s average lifespan is 10 to 12 years.
It is often considered easy to list health issues which a Retriever doesn’t have, than to list the ones they do. They also suffer from all the ailments that a dog would do.
They could suffer from anything ranging from, epilepsy, skin diseases, hip-dysplasia, elbow deformities, eye ailments, heart diseases etc. they are also very prone to cancer and tumours.
Before buying a pup you should mainly consider two things: the hip score and healthy eyes. The parents should be certified by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals in hip-score and Canine Eye Registry Foundation for the health of their eyes.
A retriever whose energy you didn’t utilise becomes destructive. They can be made to exercise by taking them for walks twice a day for one hour each. You could also make them run besides your cycle. They love to play fetch and are natural swimmers.
Their day begins with a new adventure in their minds, so make it one for him. They are natural athletes and therefore won’t let you down in terms of any exercise, mental or physical.
Bathing and brushing of a Retriever’s coat requires a lot of commitment and patience. Here are a few tips for you if you are considering getting one for yourself:
- Brush: you need to brush him at least once a day to remove the dead skin and hair. This ensures a healthy coat.
- Shampooing: you need a special shampoo for a retriever’s coat, since it needs a lot of maintenance.
- Shedding: this breed sheds like a tree in autumn, except throughout the year. So if you are not ready for that commitment don’t get this dog.
- Nail Clipping: they need their nails clipped in every few weeks.
Bathing Your Retriever
A retriever needs to bath once or twice a month, unless you are taking him lake baths, then he needs to be given fresh water baths every time he goes into mud or lake water.
Finding Your Retriever
- Purchase from Breeder
You should always find a breeder with an online page, which gives him a credit. The only thing you should be suspicious about is puppies being on sale or available all the time and the options of puppies available for you. A good breeder will always give you documents of your puppy, which will contain their parent’s history and pedigree.
A few questions while adopting a Retriever is to ask if he had any health issues, bitten someone, his age, his demeanour near children and people and general temperament.
These questions would also help you decide on healthy dog whether rescued or bred.